It's almost the end of January and I am still pondering my Christmas shopping experiences in December. Why am I still pondering this nearly a month later? Well, for starters, I'm a retail consultant. So this is the kind of stuff I think about constantly. I'm kind of obsessed with finding ways to improve store performance. Yes, it does make me a bit of a demanding shopper, but let's not forget that your customers are more demanding now than ever before.
After 25 years of working in the industry, and being a proficient consumer, I am still walking into retail stores and greeted with things that we all know just don't work:
- "Hi, how are you today?"
- "Let me know if you need any help"
- "Are you finding everything you are looking for?"
These were just a few opening lines I heard before I was abandoned in most stores I entered. And, the reality was that I wasn't even greeted in a lot of stores.
I have seen millions of dollars spent in our industry to make it better. Investments in new store designs, new POS systems, e-commerce solutions to make shopping experiences easier and more convenient , new tech innovations to help us understand our customers shopping patterns and more. Yet, I continually walk into great retail branded stores only to have the entire brand experience fall apart because we haven't spent as much time teaching the mastery of our business to the very people on the front line who represent our brands to our customers. Imagine if we invested in our ambassadors as much as we have invested in building the other parts of the business.
It wasn't all bad out there. There were some great experiences delivered by some amazing salespeople, however, not enough. If we want our front line staff to care about what they do, work with purpose, meet your customers needs and invest in a career in retail, then you need to invest in them. Teach them the Mastery of our business. Teach them to sell professionally and represent your brand the way you know it needs to be represented.
Here's one last thing to think about. In stores where the staff was obviously well trained and motivated I spent a lot more money than I probably intended. And, in the stores where the service and salesmanship were substandard I spent very little, if any.
How many customers do you think were like me in your stores over the holiday?
Linda Montalbano is a true retail operator with a history of leading large retail teams to success. If you need a fresh perspective on what's going wrong in your stores, Linda is the one to tell you like it is and come up with a solid game plan to turn things around!